On any given day, in countless media sources, journalists cite statistics without giving proper context to the numbers. For example, on Aug. 16, The Bee published an article on fallowed farmland during the drought in which Dale Kasler of The Sacramento Bee reported that researchers said 78,780 acres of farmland were fallowed in California this year and 500,000 were fallowed in 2014-15.
That sounds like quite a bit, but is it? According to census statistics, California had about 25.5 million acres of farmland in 2012. Five hundred thousand acres is 2 percent of 25.5 million and 78,000 is .3 percent of 25.5 million.
How much of that is prime farmland? I don’t know. If we knew, that then we could determine how big a deal this really is.
Danny Vartan, Fresno